The Internet of….Light Bulbs

Party at your house?

Or do you need help waking up?

Philips Hue is at your service! These lightbulbs connect to remote controlling stations (either their Tap switch or an app), meaning you can control them similarly to, though with more limitations than, professional programmable lighting. You can change colors, create programs like the Disco above, or set timers so the lights slowly dim upwards to wake you up.

There are a few benefits of this — waking up to light can be more gentle yet effective, changing color temperatures can help combat the more dangerous effects of light, and we won’t dispute the outright fun of being able to play with your lighting (we’re in the industry after all!!). A few companies are getting into this game.

However, these bulbs are quite expensive ($28-60/bulb, plus $60 for the switch). An alternative to the smartbulb is Emberlight, a connector that turns any bulb into a smartbulb (“working with what you already have”). It’s cheaper, but unless you buy a multi-colored bulb, you can’t disco with it. These bulbs are all slowly going down in price, but do you think the average consumer really has a need? How would you use your smartbulb?

Movement and light

What do you get when you combine lighting design, transportation, and photography? A pretty awesome picture:


The Budapest Transport Company covered their trams with 30,000 LED lights, and photographer Krisztian Birinyi kept the exposure open as he photographed the trams in movement. The result is stunning, and shows that lighting isn’t static. We may not always be conscious of the effect of moving light, but we do see it. It’s one of the ways we at AvLt are able to create an effect to highlight certain areas of a design.


Another illustration of the power of moving light, one we can’t help but truly see, is this music video by Opale. The effects on the model’s face are amazing to see. We personally love that you can see the rotating lights reflected in her eyes. Single colors show dramatic changes – double colors, less dramatic changes – and double lights of single colors, even fewer changes. When designing a lighting scheme for a space, there are multiple lighting source points we consider. How can we make this particular section pop out when we’re also lighting to the left and there’s a window to the right? These are the challenges that make lighting design so much fun!

Lighted Flowers

Can you believe this is a functional building?


Granted, it was built on top of an existing underground building, but we are just blown away by this architecture. And, of course, the integration of the lighting! The building really stands out against the rest of the city.

You can find this gem in Wujin, China, and city workers get to go here every day. It is also energy efficient, utilizing geothermal panels in the artificial lake for cooling.

It’s not often that outrageously unique architecture works. But when it does, it’s fabulous – and fabulously lit! It will still be a long time until we see if the goal of motivating urban development is met, but in the meantime it sure is a fun attraction that is also getting a good amount of use.

Designing for the Elderly

Every time you light a public area, you need to consider the largely varied populous passing through. It’s sometimes difficult to design a space appropriate for children, adults, and the elderly – each group requires different considerations. So we are always grateful when research institutes and vendors come out with new specifications that help us light spaces for mood AND safety. Lighting magazine in the UK is reporting that Thomas Pocklington Trust and Research Institute for Consumer Affairs are suggesting using lumen output rather than wattage to help those with sight loss navigate spaces more safely.

These same specifications can also help those suffering from dementia, as “poor lighting can give rise to anxiety” as they try to discern objects, paths, and navigate formerly well-known spaces.

We’ll be watching for more information on how to light spaces for all categories of our varied population!

Playing with the Dark

Metropolis Magazine wrote a piece on Linnaea Tillett‘s designs. They are pretty spectacular and we here at AvLt admire her work. Check out a few pictures:

(from Metropolis Magazine)

(from Metropolis Magazine)









In the article, Linnaea talks about using darkness in her designs. “seeing more is often a matter of less light,” she says, and “too much light hinders perception.” We run into this while designing museum exhibits, where displaying just the right amount of light to highlight certain areas is crucial. When we design, we design the dark as much as we design the light.

What experiences have you had when you’ve played with the dark in your designs?